Although he was a successful entrepreneur by the age of 16, named ABSA National Entrepreneur of the Year at age 22 and established a very successful media house and clothing brand, Xolani Mtshizana never stopped dreaming of receiving a university degree one day.
His dream was realised when Monash South Africa granted him a scholarship in 2010, and at 35 he graduated from the university with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies majoring in Political Science and Economics.
“Today it is more important than ever to invest in your education and increase your knowledge base,” says Xolani. He adds that he was privileged to be given the opportunity to study at Monash South Africa. “I named my company ‘Keep Digging’ as I believe that faith and resolute determination helped me get to this point in my life and if others do the same they can also share a similar success,” he says.
Born in Mdanstane Township in the Eastern Cape, Xolani developed an interest in clothing at a very young age. Several life experiences have shaped Xolani’s decisions. After being attacked and stabbed by a local gang, he spent months recovering in hospital. During this time he reflected on his life, where it was going and what he wanted to get out of it. At the same time FUBU launched in the US. Xolani was inspired. “Our youth were wearing international skating and surfing brands and I decided that they needed a local alternative, an African brand that wasn’t about traditional clothing but rather spoke to the youth,” he says.
As soon as he recovered, Xolani made his way to Paris to find further inspiration and make his dream a reality. “While in Paris I learned about the real power of branding and I realized that I didn’t want to make clothes, I wanted to create a brand.”
Xolani has combined his life experience, education and passion to make turn his dreams into reality. He believes that right education, delivered and received at the right time is able to change the course of one’s life. He also believes that by getting a globally recognised qualification has set him even further apart from his peers and that it has provided a solid foundation for him to “move beyond South African borders and face the world.”